~❦ The Nuances of God’s Sovereignty ❦~

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Traditional understandings of God’s sovereignty depict a single all powerful force that ultimately controls all things in the universe.  It is true that the “Hand of God” cannot be resisted by force.  The same hand that created the universe also upholds the material universe.  We see evidence of God’s handiwork everywhere we look for it is impossible that the endless marvels of nature could have come about randomly over long eons.

But the Bible reveals a sovereignty in the Kingdom of God that is nuanced and has different manifestations according to the kind of creation that we consider.  In inanimate creation the law of causality rules supreme, given an adequate force the outcomes is guaranteed. There is no uncertainty there.  In animate (non moral) creation causality is augmented by instinct which in itself is a mystery.  But in the moral universe, where God’s Benevolence desired to create finite beings in His own image and likeness, we are shown an even more wonderful nuance in His sovereignty.

In God’s rulership over mankind He does not rule by force or by instinct, although at times He exercises both to accomplice His purposes.  But the grand distinction in the Moral Kingdom God seeks to influence us by ideas and persuade us by revealed consequences to direct us to choosing His benevolent purpose for our lives.   God is love, that is, He is benevolent and has  been so from eternity.  Love does not coerce, this we know as surely as we know that we exist.  And the truth is that by our very creation in His image and likeness He cannot force us to choose love as a purpose for life.  To talk of forcing a free will to choose to do His will is, on the face of it an absurdity.  He doesn’t sneak in behind our conscious minds and overwhelm our will to choose to love Him.  A reality that traditional understandings of God don’t seem to comprehend.

If your view of God’s sovereignty is one of absolute power, then you only see the hand of God in monochrome.  But if you can receive it, the Bible reveals the true nature of God’s sovereignty as nuanced and perfectly adapted to the kind of life He has created.  Those created in His Image have a special purpose.  He created us to that we might freely choose to join Him in living in truth and love.

~ Just An Old Fashion Love Song ~

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“Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:

2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.

3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.

4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?    (Isa 5:1-4 KJV)

Can we believe our eyes?

This is not the language of the God of traditional theology! He is distant, aloof, indeed out of time and consequently out of our ability to feel the weight of prophetic lament.

If you wait just a bit longer, and read the passage again you just might feel that the stirring of hope. Hope that the sound of pain and lament in our own hearts is indeed a synchronous wave of God’s own. A Pulse really, that suffuses the universe. For all that it has become is marked by selfishness.

If you value the truthfulness of Scripture and have not adopted the escapisms of higher criticism then you have a right to believe that the prophet Isaiah’s experience as prophet of the Lord has been profoundly affected, humbled and cleaned by exposure to the Heart of God.

In this passage we are presented, in a song of lament, sung by the Lord Himself, with a God who invested deeply in the nation of Israel at great personal cost to reap the fruit of benevolence but was sorely disappointed.

Is this a genuine accounting of God’s inner life? Does this ethos extend even further back to creation?